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Theresa Villiers' comments 'offensive to Loughinisland massacre victims'

By Cate McCurry

Published 16/02/2016

Victim Barney Greene was oldest man to die in Troubles at 87
Victim Barney Greene was oldest man to die in Troubles at 87
Heights Bar in Loughinisland after the shooting
The Heights Bar at Loughinisland, the morning after six people were shot dead
Malcolm Jenkinson
Adrian Rogan
Secretary of State Theresa Villiers

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has been accused of being "insensitive" and "offensive" to the victims of the Loughinisland atrocity in her 'dealing with the past' speech.

SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie said that Ms Villiers' comments about the 1994 attack were a "blatant and deliberate attempt" to draw a line under the past.

Six Catholic men were shot dead by the UVF in the Heights Bar in Loughinisland, Co Down, on June 18, 1994, as the Republic of Ireland played Italy at the World Cup in the US.

No one has been convicted of the murders.

Ms Villiers was speaking about legacy issues in Belfast last week when she said that RUC officers and British soldiers had no direct involvement in the atrocity.

"It wasn't the RUC or the army who planted the bombs at La Mon, Enniskillen, or the Shankill, or pulled the triggers at Loughinisland or Greysteel," she said.

Ms Ritchie, the SDLP representative for South Down, accused the Secretary of State (SoS) of causing "severe offence" to the victims.

"The SoS's comments regarding the Loughinisland atrocity are offensive, but also suggest that she may be trying to obfuscate the inquiry currently being held by the Independent Police Ombudsman, whilst at the same time not publishing the Legacy Bill or providing the funding to deal with outstanding cases," she added.

"The SoS has caused severe offence to many victims and in particular the families of the six men who lost their lives in such tragic circumstances."

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